Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A guest picture

with 20 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

In addition to the Texas mountain laurel that we saw at the Mueller prairie restoration on February 17th, there was a particularly picturesque yaupon, Ilex vomitoria, that bore lots of fruit. It was The Lady Eve* who took this photograph of it, in which she contrasted the tiny red drupes of the tree with the similarly colored but much larger metallic sculpture beyond it. Chris Levack‘s sphere, which has a diameter of 14 ft. (4.3 m) and represents a grain of cactus pollen, is appropriately named Pollen Grain; the work was erected in 2008.


The Lady Eve also happens to be the name of an excellent 1941 comedy directed by Preston Sturges and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 24, 2013 at 6:18 AM

20 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. very nice! i pointed to a native yaupon yesterday (in ecuador) and told my friends that the native indian boys could drink that without vomiting, they were considered a man! my friend replied, ‘we use the fruit from that to stun/ kill the fish in our shrimp ponds.’

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    February 24, 2013 at 6:40 AM

    • Here, too, Indian tribes used to drink a tea made from yaupon; it was a part of their religious ceremonies. Coincidentally, we were at a Whole Foods store yesterday and bought some plátano chips that had been imported from Ecuador. They made us feel good, not queasy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 24, 2013 at 9:14 AM

      • how great! yes, you should be able to find the ‘green’ ones and the ripe ones. the ripe ones have a nice sweetness to them, and i often buy those when on the run and need something to hold me until i can eat.

        the chips are usually just plantains and oil – such a refreshing change from artificially -‘enhanced’ flavors that are so bad for one’s health! fried yucca chips are nice too.. they’re sometimes much thinner than plantains and make a good potato substitute.

        Playamart - Zeebra Designs

        February 24, 2013 at 9:17 AM

        • These weren’t sweet, unlike most of the ones I’ve bought in the United States. As you say, the only ingredients were bananas, oil, and salt. I don’t think I’ve had yucca chips here, but fresh yucca is available at Asian and Latin American groceries here. From time to time I’ve bought some and boiled it to serve as a potato-like vegetable. I learned to eat both plantains and yucca (as well as tortillas) in the two years that I spent in Honduras.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 24, 2013 at 9:36 AM

          • there’s a company here that makes not only fried yucca chips, but also fried beet chips and white parsnip chips! that brand is expensive, though the beet chips are unique.

            Playamart - Zeebra Designs

            February 24, 2013 at 9:45 AM

            • Too bad you can’t put some of those into a comment and send them to me.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM

              • if wishes were horses, beggars would ride! lo siento! i’ll photograph them the next time i’m in the supermarket (three hours away!)

                Playamart - Zeebra Designs

                February 24, 2013 at 10:19 AM

                • Que disfrutes (dislegumbres? disraíces?) de la cabalgada de tres horas, pero que no seas mendiga.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  February 24, 2013 at 10:27 AM

  2. The sculpture made me laugh – a pollen grain?! It’s a neat sculpture and a great photo, especially with the illusion of the sculpture being held in the branches of the tree. It evokes another such installation, the 1964 World’s Fair Unisphere.


    February 24, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    • It’s good of you to point out the happy illusion of the tree holding the sphere.

      I grew up on Long Island, only around 10 miles from the 1964 World’s Fair, so I saw the Unisphere when it was new. It’s about the only part of that World’s Fair that has survived. The most recognizable structures from the 1939 World’s Fair on the same site, the Trylon and Perisphere, didn’t survive, though I have black and white photographs that my mother and father took there. (I also have a few of the abstract purple and white postage stamps featuring the Trylon and Perisphere as emblems of the World’s Fair.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 24, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      • Well, then! I’ve been in your old neighborhood. My high school band traveled to NY and played on the Plaza at the World’s Fair. For years I had a Unisphere charm on a bracelet – now, I can’t figure out where the bracelet’s gone to. It was quite a trip for a group of Iowa kids. I seem to remember we thought the Pennsylvania turnpike and Howard Johnson’s was as good as the Fair, particularly at 3 a.m. 😉


        February 24, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        • Welcome, retroactively, to my extended neighborhood from childhood. I can see where a bunch of kids from Iowa might have had as good a time with the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Howard Johnson’s as with the Word’s Fair. I remember, when I dragged a class of algebra students to an art museum in San Antonio in around 1982, that one of the kids seemed more enchanted with the museum’s glass-walled elevators than with its works of art.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 24, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      • My dad had some of those stamps in his collection, too. I still have a portion of the collection. I’ll have to look and see if those are included.


        February 24, 2013 at 9:57 AM

  3. Interesting photo. I rather like it. But a pollen of grain or was that grain pollen? My yaupon is still covered in berries. The birds much prefer the Possum Haw holly.


    February 25, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    • Glad you like it. In answer to your question, the sculpture is neither a pollen of grain nor grain pollen, but Pollen Grain, i.e. a grain of (cactus) pollen.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 25, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      • Huuumm. Got it! 🙂

        It is though, an interesting photo despite the subjects name, not the plant.


        February 25, 2013 at 8:55 PM

  4. Beautiful. This gives pollen a good name, for a change, says the allergy sufferer.


    June 10, 2015 at 4:29 AM

    • We can only wish that real pollen were as harmless to us allergy sufferers as this giant red one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 10, 2015 at 7:10 AM

  5. […] The Mueller development occupies the site of the old Austin airport that closed in 1999. It’s likely that at least some of the wispy clouds we saw yesterday coincidentally came from diffused airplane contrails, so I’ve decided to follow that theme and add a non-botanical photograph from the Southwest Greenway: it shows Chris Levack’s “Wigwam.” Six years ago I semi-broke botanical ranks and showed his adjacent “Pollen Grain” sculpture. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: